He enunciated: “The importance of this forum cannot be over-emphasised given the troubles around the world today. The world is becoming increasingly interdependent as a result of globalisation and migration which has led to more interaction and friction between different cultures and faiths, fueling so many things. The inter-faith dialogue is an annual event with volunteers from the US and The Gambia to meet for a two-week programme during which vital services are rendered to humanity through various domains of the socio-economic life of the people. The volunteers engage in activities such as environmental sanitation, sustainable skills development, community service and outreach programme to health and educational facilities.
“Such forums provide opportunities especially for youths to exchange ideas and develop peace initiatives using their respective religious teachings to influence change. It also helps to protect societies from violence, extremism and terrorism. As young people with potentials of becoming future leaders, we ought to enrich our hearts and souls with a high degree of love, tolerance, and self-control and respect so that we can be better placed to overcome challenges that lie ahead. If we can be accommodative and live side-by-side we can guarantee co-existence for continued peace and stability”.
Mrs Beverly Berndt, international coordinator for Peace Programme, USA, expressed her delight while thanking the organisation for the “bold step to harness the potentials of the younger generations to exchange their ideas about religious issues”.
Aja Maimuna Savage, executive director of Islamic Cultural Centre for Women and Children, spoke on the role of women in promoting religious tolerance. She made references to many verses on the issue from the Qur’an, noting that religious tolerance is in accordance with Qu’ranic teachings.
She added: “The Gambia has no religious differences. In fact, it is always difficult to separate the Muslims from Christians who are the two dominant religions in the country despite their different practices and teachings.
“During a Christian feast, nanburu is given to Muslims. Likewise mutton is given to Christians during Muslim feasts which is a sign of the sisterly and brotherly love we have for one another. We condole with each other when we are bereaved so there is nothing like religious intolerance in the country. The president has been the number one pioneer in promoting religious tolerance”.
By Sise Sawaneh]]>